Now and then: Shopping through the ages in China

Updated: 2015-02-02 06:58


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Now and then: Shopping through the ages in China

A nail specialist offers door-to-door service for a customer in Beijing on Aug 9, 2014. [Photo/CFP]

Technology is rapidly transforming the way we consume. Buying a book, a TV set, a new pair of shoes, watching movies or even getting a massage is now a world apart from what it used to be. New digital technology has upended traditional business models, greatly enhancing consumers' experiences.

A new mode of consumption is sweeping up first-tier cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, whether it is visiting a massage therapist, nail specialist, or booking a service like a car wash through mobile apps.

The ever-increasing popularity of shopping via mobile or desktop Internet has opened a whole new window to consumption. The enormous data it generates is just starting to be harvested to better target customers. The development of big data enables consumers to immediately find items among millions of goods available whenever they want. The one-way mode in the industrial revolution era, from design to manufacture to marketing, has been transformed by the two-way mode in the Internet era. Big data is building a direct channel between consumers and manufacturers. Tailored consumption is becoming a reality.

For Chinese people who still remember buying under quotas using rationing coupons, the change is especially dramatic. Let's have a look at how shopping in China has changed, from the 1950s to today.

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